Monaro MP John Barilaro has ordered a stop-work at the site of the Majors Creek Gully fire trail in the lead-up to a meeting between the interested parties on Friday.
The trail received $188,470 in funding from the National Bushfire Mitigation Program in July. The funding was designated for an update to the trail to improve access for fire-fighting vehicles.
“The local community at Majors Creek reached out to me to discuss the issues surrounding the works on the Majors Creek Gully fire trail,” Mr Barilaro said.
“After consultation with the community, a temporary stop works on the fire trail was enacted.
“Those concerned with the works on the fire trail will be meeting in coming days with representatives from Crown Land under the Department of Industry – Lands and Forestry, the contractors undertaking the work, the Rural Fire Service, the NSW Environmental Protection Authority and the Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council.
“Following the outcomes of this meeting, further decisions will be made on the progression of the trail.”
But opponent Peter Marshall says the fire trail is a potentially dangerous waste of money.
Its swampy location with high reeds close by and a lack of turning points made it an inappropriate, even dangerous location for a fire trail, Mr Marshall has said.
“I know a number of other people are extremely concerned about basically a waste of public money,” Mr Marshall said.
“I’m extremely in favour of fire protection. This is not about denying that the reeds there are a fire hazard – they are a fire hazard – it’s just about trying to work out a better, more cost-effective way of protecting the village.”
Mr Marshall would prefer to see the funding invested in an environmentally friendly fire protection solution for Majors Creek, such as a rehabilitation of the wetlands, which could provide a fire break for the village.
The Majors Creek fire trail was listed as ‘dormant’ in the most recent Lake George Bush Fire Management Plan (2015), said a spokesperson for the Department of Industry – Lands and Forestry.
The Lake George Bush Fire Management Committee subsequently listed it as a high priority for upgrade to allow for better vehicle access and the protection of the homes and lives of residents in the area, the spokesperson said.
- The meeting will take place on Friday, August 25, 10am at the Hill Street works